Pokémon Platinum journal - entry five

The climax of the Team Galactic storyline was spectacular. It’s cool to see the villain team actually come so close to seeing their plans realized, and it’s even more amusing to me that Cyrus recognized how inept his followers were but couldn’t give two hoots. In the end, the work of Team Galactic served Cyrus and Cyrus alone, as he wanted to rewrite space and time to fit his own desires. Unfortunately for him, despite using Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf to call upon Palkia and Dialga, Giratina intervened, sucking him, the protagonist character, and Sinnoh Champion Cynthia into the Distortion World. From there, it was up to the protagonist to confront Giratina and ultimately close the rift that the legendary Pokémon opened in order to prevent reality from being swallowed up by the chaos and inverse reality of the Distortion World. Due to his cold, unmoving nature (even when he’s been bested by a young trainer several times), his vision stays clear – he even believes that the protagonist will ultimately champion the cause he set out to bring about. Because of all that, Cyrus is easily one of my favorite lead villains in the Pokémon series.

The Sunnyshore City gym had a decent layout with some mildly amusing puzzle mechanics at play, though nothing extraordinary. In truth, Volkner’s gym was relatively easy to crank through – I didn’t sweep his team with just one Pokémon, and I certainly found it a bit more challenging than the Dragon type gym in Black/White or Black 2/White 2. As the final gym though, it wasn’t all that difficult. What I have found more so frustrating, however, are the final Elite Four battle with Lucian and the champion battle with Cynthia. This is due less to the teams of Pokémon each individual uses, but more on how much of a gap there is in the levels of each team commanded by the members of the Elite Four. Throughout the rest of my Pokémon Platinum playthrough, I found that I was a few levels ahead of where I probably needed to be, and while I would see one of my team members faint from time to time or run out of PP for an ideal move before I hit the next town’s Pokémon Center, I always felt that I was in a good position to defeat my opponents. Seeing the sudden jump in the levels of opposing Pokémon, I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for anyone who played through the game blind or used solely Sinnoh-native Pokémon.

The game’s constant demand that I use HMs does not help the situation. I found this element frustrating in Soul Silver, as I had to use multiple HMs to travel from Johto to Kanto. But at least I didn’t need to have the entirety of my core team with me at the time – as soon as I reached the other side, I could then use fly to quickly travel back and forth, changing my team members out at the Pokémon Center. Over the course of Platinum, you are required to use no fewer than six separate HMs just to progress through the story, and while you can catch a Machop or a Bidoof to shoulder this burden on, you still have to use four separate HMs to make your way through Victory Road. It’s an annoying, poorly thought-out requirement, as it means you either have to accommodate for one subpar Pokémon with a wholly boring and ineffective moveset, or divvy these HM moves up among six stronger and more practical Pokémon, robbing each of at least one more practical or effective move. I didn’t spend a lot of time grinding as I played through Platinum because I never felt the need to, but I guess I am going to need to devote a few hours to that process now.

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